To celebrate the day, biscuits in the shape of buddy bears were served – there was a lot going on at Wittenbergplatz again: the new installation by street artist “DYR Wandbrand”, Damian Yves Rohde, has been unveiled.
The trendy designed bears with their angled palms stand in a row – according to the motto “Hand in hand for tolerance” at the sculpture fountain. “The Buddy Bears are world-famous as Berlin’s ambassadors and are a phenomenon,” said the Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) at the unveiling – in Berlin “as a city of open arms and hearts”.
In her speech, Giffey remembered Eva Herlitz, the creator of the “United Buddy Bears”, who died in 2021. More than 40 million visitors around the world have seen the bearish art ambassadors for international understanding since 2002 and had their picture taken with them.
She also talked about the colorful bear “Rixi” in front of her former office, the Neukölln town hall; a little bear still stands on her new desk in the Red Town Hall.
At the festival in Schöneberg, entrepreneur and benefactor Klaus Herlitz emphasized that the figures designed by international artists also have a charity mission.
Through donations and auctions, more than 2.5 million euros have been raised for Unicef and local children’s aid organizations at home and abroad via the “Buddy Bear Help” association. Eva Herlitz has also always supported the Tagesspiegel’s fundraising campaign “People help!” asked which clubs and initiatives in need she could still help.
Zohre Esmaeli, who fled Afghanistan as a child and is now a supermodel and social entrepreneur, was also a guest at the celebration.
BSR boss Stephanie Otto, zoo boss Andreas Knieriem, AG City board member Klaus-Jürgen Meier and other guests from social Berlin, business, politics and society also came. And Berliners and tourists alike immediately pulled out their cell phone cameras and posed for the bears.